Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Monolog Boxes and Transparent Messages

Soving the dialog box delemma ...

... "Dialog boxes are bad enough: they pop-up at inconvenient times, they derail our train of thought, and normally we don't even read them. But this type of dialog box is worse. It's not even a dialog box. It's monolog box. There's nothing one can do with this messages but click "OK". Or wait and click "OK". They have, as I've explained before, 0% efficiency. Beyond that, monolog boxes can have frightening consequences: because I often use two monitors, I've spent panicked seconds thinking I'd lost my work due to a crash… only to discover later that a monolog box had appeared on the other screen and stopped Word from operating normally. Even with a single monitor, you can miss the dialog box, and you'll have a similar scare.

In the article The Spelling Check is Complete by Jensen Harris (of the Microsoft Office User Experience team) defends the "Word has finished spell check" monolog box shown above, along with the "Word has finished searching your document" box. The Office team had tried removing those documents but discovered that "people who were spell checking their document manually had no idea when the process was complete." Thus, the monolog boxes were reinstated.

This is classic inside-the-box thinking. The problem is valid: people have trouble knowing the process is complete. But the solution isn't to use monolog boxes. I can think of two different—and better—solutions. You can probably think of more."   (Continued via Humanized)   [Usability Resources]

Spell Check Dialog Box - Usability, User Interface Design

Spell Check Dialog Box

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